update deskIsrael News

Report: State prosecutor seeking criminal probe against Ben-Gvir over Gaza ‘incitement’

The request reportedly comes against the background of an ICJ ruling ordering Israel to "punish the direct and public incitement to genocide."

MK Itamar Ben-Gvir addresses the Christian Media Summit at the Knesset in Jerusalem, Dec. 14, 2022. Credit: Alex Traiman.
MK Itamar Ben-Gvir addresses the Christian Media Summit at the Knesset in Jerusalem, Dec. 14, 2022. Credit: Alex Traiman.

Israel’s state attorney has requested permission to open a criminal probe into Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir over allegations of “incitement to violence” against Gazans, local media reported on Tuesday.

According to Israel’s Kan News broadcaster, prosecutor Amit Aisman has asked Israeli Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara for permission to launch the inquiry into the minister’s comments on the war against Hamas, claiming his immunity does not protect him in this case.

In the nine months since Hamas massacred 1,200 people, mainly Israeli Jews, during its Oct. 7 attack on the Jewish state, Ben-Gvir has repeatedly urged the government to eradicate the terrorist group.

“To destroy Hamas, we have to go into Rafah to the end, do a root canal. To return our hostages, we need to stop the fuel [supply to Gaza], establish that humanitarianism is only for humanitarianism,” the Otzma Yehudit Party leader stated in May remarks from the Temple Mount.

Ben-Gvir has also been pushing for the voluntary emigration of Palestinians and the resettlement of the Strip by Israeli civilians.

“Complete occupation of Gaza,” Ben-Gvir said on May 21. “Full Israeli control, including Jewish settlement and encouragement of voluntary emigration [for Gazans].” He said he would be willing to live in the enclave himself.

Kan News said Aisman’s request drew criticism from within the ranks of the Office of the State Attorney, with associates warning that the probe is unlikely to lead to charges.

Sources inside Aisman’s office told Kan that the request came against the background of the Jan. 26 International Court of Justice ruling ordering Israel to “punish the direct and public incitement to genocide.”

However, a police investigation into Ben-Gvir is unlikely to sway the court in The Hague and has the potential to bring about “dramatic” damage to the country’s global reputation, the legal sources added.

Responding to the Kan report on Tuesday, Ben-Gvir said the probe was part of a “deep state” effort to undermine elected officials.

“The state prosecutor is trying to make an Israeli minister stand trial for ‘incitement’ against citizens of an enemy state that danced on the blood of our soldiers on the streets of Gaza on Oct. 7,” tweeted Ben-Gvir. “Instead of the Israel Security Agency and state prosecutor carrying out assassinations in Gaza, they are trying to assassinate an Israeli minister,” he added.

Aisman and Baharav-Miara issued a statement noting that a decision had yet to be made on whether to open a probe. However, “as the State of Israel told the International Court of Justice in The Hague,” authorities are examining all comments that may have violated the law, they noted.

Israeli ground forces entered Gaza on Oct. 27 following a weeks-long air campaign in response to the Oct. 7 massacre. Jerusalem’s stated goals for the war are to destroy Hamas as a military and governing force in Gaza, ensure that it can not threaten Israel again and return all hostages.

You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Just before you scroll on...

Israel is at war. JNS is combating the stream of misinformation on Israel with real, honest and factual reporting. In order to deliver this in-depth, unbiased coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we rely on readers like you. The support you provide allows our journalists to deliver the truth, free from bias and hidden agendas. Can we count on your support? Every contribution, big or small, helps JNS.org remain a trusted source of news you can rely on.

Become a part of our mission by donating today
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates